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The Rhyolite Peak Trail is a 9.2km, grade 3, return hike located in the Atherton Tablelands, Misty Mountains, QLD. The hike should take between 4hrs to complete.
The Rhyloite Peak trail will test your fitness, but reward your efforts with some stunning views (on the right day…) over the extensive wilderness area of the Misty Mountains. This walk is rarely used, so its an excellent chance that you’ll not have another person on the trail as you gaze out over miles of intact rainforest.
The trail is part of the larger Misty Mountains trail network, and is one short section of the extensive system stretching from Ravenshoe to Tully. Its not an overly long walk, but the climb up the hill for the last 1.5km of the walk is very steep and unrelenting. The trail is not well marked and you will need some bushwalking skills to ensure you do not lose the trail – getting lost in this part of the world is not a good idea!
From the Walter’s Waterhole trailhead off Tully Falls Road, approx 15km from the Kennedy Highway, and 16.3km from Ravenshoe. This is the start of the trail, and you will retrun back here on this in-and-back hike.
Follow the trail into the rainforest. In 500m you will come to the crossing of Koolmoon Creek, and another creek crossing at 3.0km. At 3.5km you will come to a junction (signed) – turn left and begin the climb towards the Rhyolite Peak.
The trail is 1.4km up the hill, winding back and forth, gaining about 200m in elevation. The trail is often overgrown and you may need to go around fallen timber. When passing fallen trees, make sure you keep someone on the trail until you find it again on the other side to ensure you do no lose the trail.
Towards the summit of the trail (but not at the highest point) you need to keep you eyes out for a side trail off on the left. There is an old and faded sign attached to the rock face “Rhyolite Peak” but this is often overgrown with epiphytes. Take this short trail (~100m) up and onto the exposed rock surface for great views over the Cardwell Range, Tully Falls National Park and the coast beyond.
Return the way you came.
From Ravenshoe, drive south 1.2km to the Kennedy Highway and start of Tully Falls Road. Once on Tully falls Road, drive 15.2km until you see the Walters Waterhole Trailhead sign, part of the Misty Mountains trail network. Park at the sign, with the trail heading off into the rainforest immediately behind the sign. The first section of the trail (~3.7km) is generally maintained and easy to follow but includes a couple of creek crossings where you will get your feet wet.
This trail is best done in the Dry Season (May-Oct) as during the Wet, the creek crossing can be deep, the trail muddy and slippery and the leeches altogether too friendly! The first ~3.7km of the trail is easier, but the next 1.4km are a steep climb through rainforest to the Rhyolite Peak lookout. The trail can be overgrown and you will need some bushwalking experience.
The trail passes through stunning intact rainforest where you will have a chance to see some of the amazing fauna endemic to North Queensland, including Southern Cassowary, Musky Rat Kangaroo and plenty of birds. The lookout and/or the creek crossing make a great place for a break on the trail. This trail is seldom used, and provides access to and views over some great wilderness areas seemingly untouched – good for the soul and the heart.
Hike contributed by Wayne Young
Max elevation: 1022 m
Min elevation: 801 m
Total climbing: 580 m
Total descent: -660 m